Anastacia Tolbert, photographed near Hugo House, where she is poet in residence.

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PHOTO BY KELLY O / QUESTIONS BY RICH SMITH


Nice muscle. Do you lift?

Thank you! Yes, I lift: fighting social injustices (QWOC), mothering two black boys in America, writing, performing, teaching, one-woman-showing at the Project Room—oh yes, and a few weights. If my muscles could talk... they would choose not to. Silent types.

What are you working on during your Hugo House residency?

I plan to give writers in marginalized communities the opportunity to share their creative writing and voices with the House in a more intentional way. I also plan to finish a full-length manuscript, which will include (aside from poetry and prose) many Seattle voices, artwork, quotes, and ear-hustled conversation snippets from around town.

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You write for the page and the stage. What's one piece of advice you'd give to poets who want to perform their work?

To read/share their work with passion and to think of themselves as a 3-D model, showing all sides simultaneously. But at the end of the day, I want someone to comment on my work, not how great my voice sounded while reading it. I guess that was a couple pieces of advice. Two more: Be confident and humble. recommended

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